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Sectors: Bioeconomy

Podravje – Maribor

Updated on 11.04.2024

In 2021, the WCYCLE Institute Maribor merged with the Regional Development Agency Podravje. In Maribor, the same team is still working on circular economy (CE), but now includes 41 municipalities that were covered by the Regional Development Agency Podravje, located in the north-eastern part of Slovenia. The programme for CE will be upgraded from city-level to regional-level, based on the experience gathered since 2016 in the development in Maribor.

Countries: Slovenia
Population: 325.994

More information

In a new sector for development, research and innovation, the programme for CE will also include experience from other team members. These team members are from Styrian Technology Park and will join the department in 2022, with support from SMEs. This will be done in collaboration with partners from whole region – especially with the E-Institute from Ptuj (EIT Climate KIC Hub coordinator for Slovenia).

We have previously implemented several successful projects with the E-Institute from Ptui, and will continue with more of the involved partners from the region. In the DRI department, there are eight people (five female and three male) developing programmes and projects.

Leading organisation

Regional Development Agency of Podravje – Maribor  


Department for research, development and innovation

Link to existing circular economy action plan

The implementation of the strategy is based on the organisation and operation of strategic project areas as pillars of circular, efficient resource management for the transition of the city of Maribor (and the wider region) into a CE. The strategy includes: 

  1. the treatment of municipal waste and associated services; 
  2. the use of processed construction and demolition waste and soil in urban construction; 
  3. the management of surplus heat and renewable energy; 
  4. sustainable mobility – urban transport and joint services; 
  5. the reuse of recycled water and alternative water resources; 
  6. sustainable management of land and regeneration of degraded areas; 
  7. a cooperating economy network. 


The strategy covers the innovative urban CE system as the new business and economic model of the city in the field of circular resource management. Such a model has not existed before and complements the principles of sustainable development and cooperative economy. The main goals of the strategy are to manage and use all material streams that the city is producing and use them for any needs of the city and region. Some of the goals are to raise the awareness of citizens about CE, to support new business models in sharing economy, and to enable transition to CE in public and private sector. 


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Other activities

Based on the adopted strategy, several CE pilot projects in Maribor and the wider region have been implemented across different sectors. The main goal remained: shifting the core city resource flows that are managed by public utilities (waste, water, soil, land use, food, infrastructure, construction, etc.) to a circular business model. 

Examples of projects implemented in the region: 

  • Interreg Alpine space, Greencycle – ‘Introducing circular economy system to Alpine Space to achieve low-carbon targets’; 

  • Horizon 2020, UPSURGE – a city-centred approach to catalyse nature-based solutions through the EU Regenerative Urban Lighthouse for pollution alleviation and regenerative development. 

In addition, a number of innovative start-ups have been supported though crowdfunding campaigns (via the E-institute) and Business incubator for innovative and development-oriented companies (via Styrian technology park). 

Link to Circular Systemic Solution

Podravje-Maribor is on a mission to harness the potential of various bio-degradable materials, creating two innovative products. The first product is a new bio-based fertiliser aimed at rejuvenating farmlands depleted by decades of intensive agriculture. The second product is a unique soil substitute for land remediation in farmlands and raised gardens, made from a combination of sediments and fertiliser.

This innovative solution will bring together a range of locally available materials, including biological waste, biomass from riverbed maintenance, floating wood from hydropower dams, biomass from forest and green space maintenance, and organic waste from wastewater treatment and animal farming. It also uses river sediments, waste heat from composting and pyrolysis, and treated wastewater. 

The vision of the pilot includes a practical demonstration at the Ptuj communal landfill site. This serves as a catalyst for regional transformation to circular bioeconomy.

Circular economy good practices

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Key publications, policies, legislations and initiatives

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Support from CSO

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Resource use, flows and materials

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